Tag Archives: x-men

X-Men, Go and Save the City!!!

I’ve mentioned a few times on this site how much I love the Konami 6-Player X-Men Arcade game from 1992 (as a part of my dream arcade or while rambling about the Pryde of the X-Men Cartoon), and in general the X-Men have come up a few times (like when I was re-gifted my old comic collection or when discussing the Essential X-Men Crossover ads.)  Let’s just say that it’s a safe assumption that the X-Men were a pretty big part of my pop culture experience as a tween and teen.  In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that I feel lucky to have grown up during some of the best years for that comic property, getting into them around 1987 and sticking with them until the departure of the main series writer, Chris Claremont, around 1991-92.  I was there for the VHS release of the very under-appreciated Sunbow pilot, Pryde of the X-Men, I remember staring slack-jawed at the pegs when the 91 Toy Biz X-Men action figures were released, and was one of six billion people who fell in love with the artwork of Jim Lee as he came onto the Uncanny X-Men comic.  But getting back to the arcade game, that game was released right as my love for the X-Men was at its height.  My small group of friends at the time were all also x-fanatics and there were a number of birthdays celebrated at a local go-cart/arcade establishment called Malibu Grand Prix where the five of us spent all of our money on that beautiful 6-player machine…

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If there’s one thing that I miss about the disappearance of arcades across the country it’s the ability to step up to the above machine, plunk in a bunch of quarters and kick some Brotherhood of Evil Mutant butt with Wolverine, Dazzler and Colossus.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to pick up one of these cabinets for about $500, which as I understand it is a steal, but I ended up passing based on pure logistics.  Where in the hell was I going to put this behemoth?!?  It has to weigh at least 750lbs and there is no way it would fit through my front door let alone trying to find a place for it in a 2 bedroom apartment.  No, owning one of these machines is pretty much out of the question and so I resigned myself to never getting another chance to try and take down Magneto and his minions.  Well, that’s what I thought until this past weekend when Glen Manders, the gentleman spearheading the release of the Cheestroyer vinyl toy I blogged about this past weekend, pointed out that the game is available for iPad and android tablets.  Um, HOLY CRAP!

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I was a little skeptical at first as I’m not a huge fan of playing games from the arcade or home systems ported to the iPad.  I just don’t like using the touchscreen as a d-pad, it’s not comfortable in my hands typically.  I feel the same way about emulators on the computer.  I can’t use a keyboard to play them for crap, and I’ve yet to invest in a usb controller.  Honestly I’m just not enough of a rabid gamer to bother with it, at least not to invest the $20 or so I’d have to in order to make the gaming experience more in line with what I remember as a kid.  Anyway, I went into the X-Men Arcade game app pretty skeptical.  But after messing around with the settings for a bit, I was completely won over and was sitting in amazement as I got a chance to play this long lost arcade game again…

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As I booted it up and watched the opening sequence it was like being 15 years old again…

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Just like in the arcade you have six X-Men to choose from, Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Dazzler…

X-Men

…and you play through 7-8 levels battling against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, more or less the exact line up from the Pryde of the X-Men cartoon, including Pyro, the Blob, the White Queen, Juggernaut and eventually Magneto.  Not sure why Toad got the shaft and left out of the game…

Brotherhood

For the most part you’re fighting your way through a city against mini Sentinels and armored brutes with cannons, but you also do battle with a series of other X-Men villains including the Reavers (well, a few variations of the tank-treaded punk Bonebreaker), Wendigo, Mastermold, and Mystique.  There’s also a handful of Egyptian statues in there that I think were supposed to point towards Apocalypse, but I’m not sure…

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Wendigo

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So many familiar things came flooding back while playing this game, from Wendigo shouting his name as he pummeled the crap out of me, to how it kind of sucked that in order to use your mutant powers you had to spend heath points!

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Back in the arcade days, this totally sucked because it meant plunking in more and more quarters as you killed yourself in order to have Storm summon a tornado, Cyclops fire his optic blasts, Dazzler set off a light bomb, or have Nightcrawler teleport.  It made a little more sense with Wolverine, who goes into a berserker rage, or Colossus, who shifts from metal to human back to metal with a sudden explosion.  At least you get to walk around skewering Sentinels as Logan and beating the crap out of armored villains with Peter’s Russian metal fists.  But the rest of the X-men are a little more hampered by sacrificing their innate mutant abilities in lieu of punching and kicking (or in the case of Storm, smacking people upside the head with a scepter?!?)

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Even so, the game is still super fun and with this tablet app version you have the amazing benefit of unlimited continues, so you can totally let loose with all your mutant abilities!

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I was a little surprised how short the game is, considering my friends and I were never able to beat it back in the 90s.  I was able to play through and beat the game twice in an hour!  Granted, I had it set on the Easy difficulty, but still, it played through pretty quickly.  This is hardly a complaint though, as I had a lot of fun making my way through the levels, and plan on going back and beating the game with all six of the X-Men…

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There were also little things that I forgot like Nightcrawler’s ability to stomp on villains that have been knocked to the ground, and Magneto declaring that “You’re Dead!” when he takes one of your player lives…

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There’s also a multiplayer function, but I haven’t had the opportunity to check it out.  All in all, for $0.99, if you’re a fan of the original arcade game you can’t go wrong.  There’s so much nostalgia to be relived with this game, and it takes the edge off of not buying that hulking cabinet when I had the chance!

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I’ve rigged all the cabinets so you won’t need tokens…

Getting back into the swing of things around here and as luck would have it this week’s League assignment is a real peach!  Submitted by Jason over at Rediscover the 80s (who just started a pretty rad podcast that I totally am way behind in pimping), the topic is all about building a dream arcade in our homes.  Though I’m not much of a gamer these days, I did spend a decent amount of time playing the stand-up cabinets at the local pizza joints, mall arcades, Showbiz and Chuck E. Cheese’s, and even in the converted utility closet of the 7-Eleven that was in my neighborhood growing up.  That being said, my dream arcade would probably fit in a utility closet now that I think about it…

So what would be in my dream arcade closet?  Only four cabinets.  Well, three cabinets and one cocktail table unit.  First up, the classic (at least for me), Galaga…

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This is my go-to game when I’m in the mood for a truly old school arcade experience.  It’s also the game I judge most pizza places on.  Sure, if a place makes a good NY style pizza, that’s good, but if there are arcade cabinets in the joint and Galaga is missing, so too will be my patronage.  For my money (and I will drop a considerable amount of coinage in a Galaga cabinet when I have a belly full of pizza) there no better combination than securing that double spaceship with the taste of sausage and onion in my mouth that was just recently washed down with coke sipped out of a clear red plastic cup.  Just a bit of heaven if you ask me.

Plucking some similar pizza place-centric nostalgia heart strings would be securing a Mrs. Pac-Man cocktail sit-down table.  Faux wood grain trim would be essential too…

Mrs Pacman Cocktail

Can’t count the number of times I played a unit that looked just like this while waiting for my personal pan pizza at my local Orlando area Pizza Hut as a kid.  Did I mention that the personal pan pizza in question would have invariable been free based on my appetite for reading and the Pizza Hut Book It program…

Now the next cabinet is not an arcade game in the strictest sense, but it did provide an arcade experience, and that’s the Nintendo PlayChoice-10…

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This unit was basically a way for Nintendo to “advertise” for the NES system by housing it and 10 games into one arcade cabinet.  We had one in my local 7-Eleven when I was growing up and it’s where I spent a good deal of time playing games like Ducktales, Goonies II, and more importantly Lifeforce.  I also learned a neat trick where if you could pull both of the joysticks to the right and mash down all the buttons you’d get free timed play on a handful of the games in the cabinet.  I used this method to play a shitton of Lifeforce before breaking down and begging my mom for an at-home copy of the game.  In other words, mission accomplished Nintendo.

Rounding out my dream arcade would be my favorite arcade game ever, a 6-player X-Men game cabinet…

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Not only was this game based on Pryde of the X-Men, my favorite X-Men cartoon of all time (the one-shot failed pilot produced by the wonderful folks over at Sunbow), but it features one of my favorite X-Men characters, the much underrated Dazzler.  My four friends during middle and high school were all X-Men nerds like me, so between the five of us we used to rock the crap out of this game at our local arcade/go cart track called Malibu Grand Prix.  All of us would beg our parents to go there for birthdays just so that we could spend a couple hours plunking quarters into the above machine.  I’m pretty sure we even came close to beating it one or two times.  Hands down some of my favorite arcade experiences surrounded time at the joystick playing either Wolverine or Dazzler.

About 10 years ago I ran across a very reasonably priced 6-Player X-Men cabinet, but was plagued with the ultimate nerd conundrum of how to justify a car payment on something so big and loud that would be next to impossible to move without a professional team and a forklift.  In the end I passed, but there has always been a part of me that regretted it…

So there you have it.  The Branded in the 80s Arcade.  Small, sure.  But for me, arcade heaven.  Pass me a slice of sausage and onion, and don’t worry, I’ve rigged all the cabinets so you don’t need tokens!

If you liked my shenanigans this week, why not check out these other rad League participants…

Pax, Cavalcade of Awesome (and my rad Cult Film Club co-host), lists his top 10 arcade games!

Classick Material, Cold Slither Podcast, goes the extra step and makes a fantasy show about his favorites!

Rich, The Nerd Nook, Moonwalks over to the 7-Eleven to play some Street Fighter II!

Kal, Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool, has a bone to pick with Dragon’s Lair!

1 Nightcrawler, ah, 2 Nightcrawlers, ah ah, 3 Nightcrawlers, ah ah ah…

As a quick aside from the Halloween festivities here at Branded, I thought I’d take a second and point to a fun project that Diana Nock put together on her newly re-designed site…

If you were ever curious about seeing over 150 different artist’s interpretations of swashbuckling, romantic, fuzzy, blue, teleporting elf Nightcrawler (of X-Men, Excalibur, and six million other Marvel comics fame), then take a second and check out the Nightcrawler Sketchbooks.  It’s a hoot.